What do I do at the end of my lease?

When you are approaching the end of your lease, we recommend that you start to prepare about a month before the return date.

We recommend that you have an independent inspection done and allow us to help you prepare your car for return.

If you wish to do it yourself, we would recommend that you obtain a BVRLA fair wear and tear guide if you don't already have one. You may be able to get one from your leasing company or fleet manager.

In addition to this, we would recommend asking your leasing company for a list of recharges. Most lease companies charge similar prices based on standard rates for repair, or repair-and-replace. However, there can be some deviation from the norm, and it is worth asking. It is very rare these days for a lease company not to have a matrix of charges, and some have it online.

We would then recommend that, with a friend, you use the BVRLA guide to inspect the car. Going panel by panel, item by item looking for dents, scratches, scuffs, chips and any other damage. You will need to look along panels so that you can see dents in the light, get on your hands and knees and check the sills and under parts of bumpers, and write down all the damage you find and compare it to the Standard in the Fair Wear & Tear Guide.

You will need to check the wheels for damage, and also check that the tires are good, and the correct tires are fitted according to contract.

You will also need to check the interior for holes or damage to seats and carpets, excessive stains, damage and scuffs to dashboard and door panels.

You will also need to insure all the paperwork is with the car, and that it is correctly filled out, service stamps are completely, and that all the accessories that came with the car are intact. 

We recommend starting this process a month before the car is due for collection in order for you to have time to rectify any issues.

People spend too much money!

If you have read this far, you can probably spot the difficulty. Using the Fair Wear and Tear guide, you can, if you are diligent,  find everything wrong with your car.  But then you are left wondering if it constitutes fair wear and tear.  Many people give themselves a generous assessment and then find they get a large bill because the lease company does not share their view. More often, people will go the opposite route and get everything done, and in the process, spend far more than they would have done if they accepted the recharges.

If you pay for repairs, you will be paying retail prices, but for some (not all) recharges, the lease company may only charge you trade prices. There are other kinds of damage such as worn carpets, damage to leather or chips on door edges, where they will charge you for replacement or repair-and-repaint, which works out far more expensive than having the work done yourself.  You could be charged a 'panel price' of a couple of hundred pounds when it could be avoided by buying yourself a touch-up paint from Halford's £6.50.

There is also the problem that there is a lot of really bad advice out there on the internet, and although we hate to say it, any company that does car repairs, will usually advise you that you definitely need their services. As the saying goes, "If all you have is a hammer, every problem becomes a nail".


Written by Danny Argent. Last updated 16/06/2022 15:51